Saturday, January 10, 2015

Nature Sketching in Winter

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

Winter. Over the years I've learned to make peace with this most difficult of seasons. Cold, dry air, snow, freezing rain, short dark days, long nights, staying inside a lot.  None of those are any of my favorite things,  I like being outside, sunshine, mild weather and loooong days.

Winter and it's rhythms of stillness, quietude, and natural turning inward for sleep and rest have taken a long time to charm me, but charm me the have (mostly).  I still dread winters when we get walloped with snow storm after snow storm, the power goes out, the plows don't come and the snow piles in the super market parking lot tower over you head form months at a time.

Good thing I have dogs, they get me out numerous times a day, starting at about 5am, so I can drink in some of the austere and minimal beauty of winter, even if it's only in my backyard.

Living near the beach is a special treat in winter as the beach takes on a whole other look when it's covered in snow. The top sketch is at a local beach. I parked along the bike path and sketched from the car.  I've found if your car is good and warm it will stay warm enough to sketch after you turn off the engine for about 45 minutes. I stay bundled up in the car, wear  finger-less gloves and take a hot drink with me.

The second sketch is of views from my windows.  On January 5th I was greeted with a butter colored full moon setting over the western tree line.  That was amazingly gorgeous. I was out with the dogs and couldn't get enough of it's soft roundness and buttery sheen.  So I called the dogs back in and grabbed my sketchbook and sat in front of the sun room window and penned a simple sketch.  Upstairs in my studio my windows face Southeast and I was also able to catch the sunrise (bottom sketch).

Because both these subjects disappear quickly and both depend on the contrast between light and dark to capture their essence I used a Tradio Stylo pen which has water soluble ink. When I add watercolor to the sketches the ink infiltrates the colors, deepens and quickly I can get the murky, shadowy darkness I need.

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